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How-To: Chili Fries with Beer Cheese Sauce

It probably sounds strange to have chili fries for dinner, but that’s only because restaurant culture says that chili fries are an appetizer or side dish. But really, a hearty chili paired with a side of fries is a satisfying meal in itself.

This is more of a how-to, because the components of this meal are pretty straightforward. I just had never thought of putting them together quite like this. The chili here is my usual go-to chili: Rachael Ray’s Turkey Chipotle Chili with Pepper Jack Cheese Corn Cake Toppers (without the corn cakes). It’s a relatively fancy chili, not something you’d use to top fries with. I also like that it’s a turkey-based chili – it’s slightly less fatty than beef, so it gives that extra wiggle room on the cheese sauce. The only change I made to the recipe was making the sauce slightly thicker – I used only a cup of the chicken stock. I figured this would work better when combined with the fries and cheese sauce.

Because I made the cheese sauce from scratch, I decided to take a shortcut on the fries, by just using frozen fries from the supermarket. (I also had a couple of half-bags leftover, so this was an excuse to use them up.) If you had the time, though, I think it would be excellent to oven-roast your own potato wedges for this.

And that leaves the cheese sauce. Normally for chili-cheese fries you get an over-processed, Velveeta-style cheese sauce that oozes over the chili like a fatty, yellow lava flow. Instead of that, I decided to make a cheese sauce from scratch, pulling elements from both chili (cumin, chili powder) and fondue (beer). The recipe for the sauce is after the break.

In assembling this, I put some fries on the bottom, drizzled a bit of the cheese sauce on top, then a healthy serving of the chili, and then a bit more cheese sauce on top of that. Eat with a knife and fork. It was awesome.

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